In life we are taught to “trust your instincts”, “trust your gut” and “trust yourself.” We see trust as a key element in our relationships. However, we don’t always think of our interactions with a business as a “relationship.” This is a common blind spot in B2B marketing and sales.
In today’s B2B marketing and sales environment, trust has become its own currency. Trust — in addition to price, features, integrations, and all the other bells and whistles – has emerged as a key differentiator for sales and marketing technology vendors looking to rise above the noise.
Salesforce knows this as well as anyone. Salesforce built trust.salesforce.com as a resource for real-time information on system performance and security. By providing a resource for real-time updates on service interruptions, the company is doing more than just taking steps to prevent Support from being flooded with emails. It’s about eliminating uncertainty in the minds of admins. It’s about building trust.
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With the vast majority of Salesforce revenue generated by renewals and upsells, Salesforce has made investing in trust a priority. It understands and fully appreciates that building faith in the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of its’ customers’ information is vital to the company’s long-term success.
This trend is not unique to SFDC or CRMs. Trust is a vital component in all B2B technology. In B2B marketing, trust has become its own currency and you must ensure you are investing wisely.
Consumer trust in digital marketing methods and vendors has been dropping in recent years. For example, a December 2016 survey conducted by MarketingSherpa found that 80% or more of respondents trusted print ads or TV ads, but only 39% trusted online banner ads or mobile ads [eMarketer].
In this landscape, buyer trust becomes its own currency — and a key differentiator for marketing technology vendors looking to rise above the noise and emerge as leaders amongst the competition.
For martech vendors in particular, customer service is a key area to focus on. In a study conducted by Zendesk, customer service was found to be the most important factor affecting consumers’ trust in a company. Those vendors that can improve their customer service processes to be timely, personable, and relevant will separate themselves from the pack.
Beyond that, building consumer trust is key because marketing and sales leaders rely heavily on peer recommendations when it comes to selling, particularly in the B2B arena. A recent G2 Crowd study sponsored by Blanc & Otus found that 86% of respondents stated word of mouth from peers was the most influential factor in their decision to speak to a particular B2B technology vendor, and another 83% stated that word of mouth was one of the top drivers of final selection of a vendor.
Furthermore, technical products require reliable support and education in order to have consumers feel comfortable using them and bought into the benefits of that technology. Supplying customers with the touch points and support they need to build trust across security, data quality, usability, and beyond ensures high customer retention rates, which is a huge win for businesses:
“…in industry after industry, the high cost of acquiring customers renders many customer relationships unprofitable during their early years. Only in later years, when the cost of serving loyal customers falls and the volume of their purchases rises, do relationships generate big returns. The bottom line: increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.” [Harvard Business Review]
Anyone who has taken a look at Scott Brinker’s State of Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic knows that B2B marketing technology stacks have been getting progressively heavier. In 2017, B2B marketing and sales teams have seemingly reached critical mass when it comes to new technology adoption.
With this state of affairs, the technology adoption, integrations, and partnerships made by B2B companies impact the success of that company for years to come.
B2B marketing and sales organizations need platforms that can communicate with one another and boast cross-departmental functionality. The combination of different technologies can be a force multiplier or a disaster. Marketing and sales leaders are on the lookout for new technology additions that strengthen and streamline the stack, vs. bog it down.
A study of 61 million customer records by Dun & Bradstreet found that 84% of marketing databases are barely functional and 64% lack basic data such as industry, revenue and employee fields. [Dun & Bradstreet]
Companies are sick of having dozens of overlapping and competing technologies to wrangle in one stack. B2B companies are starting to trim the fat. Inefficiencies and redundancies in the technology stack cost time and money.
As new tools pop up every day, the demand gen technology market is getting more elastic. This means that if a customer doesn’t like their vendor, it’s getting easier to switch.
Trust is key. Demand gen teams are becoming increasingly focused on retention, upselling, and advocacy, as opposed to just acquisition.
84% of B2B decision makers start the buying process with a referral. [SBI]
From security to customer service, to data quality, to usability, and beyond, trust is the key differentiator for marketing, sales, and business intelligence technology vendors in 2017. It’s time to invest in it.